The iron-sulfide hypothesis of life’s origin that Michael J. Russell and William Martin propose in this article is attractive because it provides an inorganic cell wall and a matrix with some catalytic capabilities. But even if the Russell-Martin hypothesis is true, it isn’t a comprehensive theory of bioorigins. The cardinal difficulty in the origin of life is the inception of the genetic code. The code itself is predicated on a number of chemical improbabilities. I don’t see how iron-sulfide chambers adequately account for these.
Kelley Vincent Tyler, Texas
From the Nature Index
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.